New LGBT training incorporated into medical school curriculum

New LGBT training incorporated into medical school curriculum

UofL School of Medicine is first in nation to provide core competencies program
New LGBT training incorporated into medical school curriculum

Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine

The University of Louisville School of Medicine will serve as the nation’s pilot site for training future physicians on the unique health care concerns and issues encountered by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT), gender nonconforming or born with differences of sex development (DSD).

“We are very excited to serve as our nation’s learning ground in training the next generation of physicians in meeting the unique health care needs of our LGBT and DSD-affected population,” said Toni Ganzel, M.D., dean of the UofL School of Medicine. “Every segment of our population brings its own set of health care issues and concerns. As we strive to provide the highest quality training possible, it is a privilege to model that educational experience for our colleagues throughout the nation.”

UofL will spend the next few months developing the formal curriculum and begin the pilot program in the 2015-16 academic year, with full integration into the curriculum in 2016-17.

People who are LGBT, gender nonconforming or born with DSD often experience challenges when seeking care in doctors’ offices, community clinics, hospitals and emergency rooms. Research shows that these health disparities result in decreased access to care or willingness to seek care, resulting in increased medical morbidity and mortality for LGBT and DSD-affected patients.

All aspects of patient care, from the intake forms and interaction with caregivers in the outpatient office to interactions during critical illness, require an accepting, informed, patient-centered approach from all physicians in order to improve the adverse health outcomes seen in this patient population.

In early November, the Association of American Medical Colleges identified 30 competencies that physicians must master. These competencies fall under eight domains of care critical to training physicians, including patient care, knowledge for practice, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, systems-based practice, interprofessional collaboration and personal and professional development.

This competency-based framework will allow medical educators to integrate the new guidelines into existing curricula more easily and encourage faculty and health care professionals to move away from thinking of patients in these groups as separate from the general patient population.

“As a university, we continue to be a leader in recognizing the importance of understanding our diverse population and working to meet the varying needs,” said Brian Buford, assistant provost for diversity and director of the LGBT Center at UofL.

UofL School of Medicine will be assisted in this curriculum integration project by two of the primary authors of the competencies, Jennifer Potter, M.D., Harvard School of Medicine, and Kristen Eckstrand, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and fourth-ear medical student. Additionally, John Davis, M.D. from The Ohio State University and the AAMC Group on Diversity & Inclusion LGBT Issues Representative also will assist in the project.